August 7, 2021
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Trying to determine what the best colors are for your logo, your website, or your retail signage? You can always choose your favorites. Or you can pay attention to some of the latest research on how people perceive color, and how color affects us. That way, you can choose colors that help attract the people you want, as well as help guide them towards the actions you hope they will take.
We think of seeing color as a straightforward process. Simplistically put, the rods and cones in our retinas perceive grades of shadow and light and differentiate between light wavelengths. This information is shuttled off to the visual cortex where our obedient brains translate it into colors. And that’s how we see the world exactly as it is.
Except that it’s not.
More and more cognitive research points to the fact that our brains do not so much see the world as create it. And the regions of our brains involved in perception are also involved in memory and imagination – though sometimes in reverse order. In other words, how we perceive color has a lot to do with who we are, including our memories and emotions. We feel color as much as we see it.
Enter color psychology. Color is an electromagnetic wavelength with the power to motivate us, demotivate us, excite us, calm us, interest us, or allow us to quickly determine that we’re not interested in something. How quickly? According to research done by Satyendra Singh (2006), we make up our minds regarding how we feel about people or products within 90 seconds of our initial reactions. Anywhere from 62% to 90% of our assessments are based on color alone.
Color focuses our attention and enhances memory as well. A 2010 study showed that color can increase brand recognition up to 80%. Other studies show that colors can aid learning, memorization, and recall.
These are all important findings for you – if you are trying to attract the right folks, prompt them to take actions you want, and help them remember you and your products.
Much of the literature about color in marketing has tended to assign specific meanings to colors and leave it at that. For instance, red means action and excitement, while green means calm. The problem with this is that it doesn’t take context into account. While green can be a calming color, it also takes on an association or ruggedness when used for an outdoor store, and a sense of promise when used for a financial website. Blue is high on everyone’s preferred color list, and it often conveys solidity and trust, but that doesn’t mean that you would use blue for your fireplace store, when rich oranges, yellows or reds would serve better. The point is that it’s important to consider the context and what you’re trying to convey when you choose colors.
Even the name of a color can affect its acceptance. For instance, in a 2006 study researchers showed the same brown color to subjects, but named it brown in one group and mocha in another. Mocha was far more preferable – even though it was exactly the same color!
There is a lot of speculation concerning which colors work best for Calls to Action, whether on website buttons, signage in a store, or ads or flyers. Many articles state that red, orange, or yellow are the colors to use, whereas what often works best is simply a color that contrasts with its surroundings. That’s because our brains are built to pick up differences. So a green Call to Action on a page that’s predominantly red can be a good choice.
Your use of color may be one of the most important decisions you make in designing ads, flyers, packaging and websites. Digital color printing gives you a wide gamut of color choices, and the flexibility to allow you to alternate colors on the same printed piece to suit different target audiences. Call us for more information; we’re happy to help.
We’re the digital printing experts serving the Portland, Oregon area and the U.S. For more information, check out our website at: https://rhinodigital.com. Or better yet, give us a call at: 503-233-2477. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions and help you with tips and information on getting your digital printing done in the most economical and timely manner possible.